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Caribbean Nature Reserve receives 319,000 hectares of protected land

One of the most popular attractions visited by travellers on Riviera May holidays, the Sian Ka'an Nature Reserve, has received 319,000 hectare of protected land, making the total of the reserve to nearly one million hectares.

Caribbean Nature Reserve receives 319,000 hectares of protected land

Officials have announced that the Sian Ka'an Nature Reserve has received 319,000 hectares of protected land, bringing the total to nearly one million hectares (2.5 million acres).

The beautiful nature reserve is one of the region's most popular attractions for tourists enjoying Riviera Maya holidays and is home to 103 species of mammals, 336 species of birds and over 2000 human inhabitants. The park also features 23 archaeological sites including many dating back over 2,300 years.

Situated in Tulum in the Quintana Roo state, Sian Ka'an, which means "gateway to heavens" in Mayan, is protected by a 1981 presidential decree created by Tulum National Park. The decree limits the activities carried out by Riviera Maya hotels which are located on the edge of the biosphere reserve in order to protect the turtles, protected animals and the ancient Maya civilization ruins.

The park also features several ecotourism and education centres with a range of conservation and education programmes available to visitors on Riviera Maya holidays. Tourists can take part in a range of activities in the reserves including tours and fishing, whilst learning about the history, environment and conservation efforts.

Tourism authorities and businesses are keen to develop tourism in the southern part of the Mexican state but many environmental groups have protested against this. The Quintana Roo state is home to the world's biggest underground river system and is a vital reserve for fresh water. Further construction or development could pose a threat to the land and its wildlife.

President of the Mayab Ecological Group, Araceli Dominguez, said: "Everyone is after those plots of land. Development can be done, but in line with environmental criteria and in low densities."

Tourism brings in vital revenue for the region and the nature reserve attracts thousands of tourists every year who are keen to explore the breathtaking natural surroundings during their Mexico and Cancun holidays.

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